Orondo School District

'Don't You Live With Ms. Juana?' Student Homelessness In Migrant Central Washington

Orondo, Washington, lies on the Columbia River between Chelan and Wenatchee. Its population fluctuates with the growing season as migrants work surrounding fruit orchards. This small town’s school district has the largest percentage of homeless students in the state. For the 2015-2016 year, nearly half of the 156 students in Orondo were in a state of homelessness.

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Harney County, Ore., Sherrif's Office

Federal prosecutors described Wesley Kjar as one of the least culpable defendants for his role in the 41-day, armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

And during his Nov. 22 in federal court in downtown Portland, he was among the most apologetic.

Washington state Rep. Paul Graves is proposing to end the cloak of secrecy around legislative emails, calendars and other records. The move comes as media outlets, including public radio, have sued the Legislature over public records.

VISITOR7/WIKIMEDIA-TINYURL.COM/J6O4LKN

Nearly 20,000 people have been removed from Washington’s Medicaid rolls for ineligibility. The purge happened after the state stepped up efforts to verify residency and income levels.

Over the summer, Washington’s Health Care Authority experimented with using the research firm LexisNexis as an additional way to check the residency status of Medicaid recipients. Based on that, 64,000 accounts were flagged.

ASHLEY GROSS/KNKX

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson is asking the legislature to pass new laws in hopes of addressing the opioid epidemic. He says one of his proposals would create new limits on how many pills doctors can prescribe.

"We'd limit it to seven pills for adults, three for those under 21. Other states are doing this, red states, blue states, purple states, we should do it as well," Ferguson said.

But, of course, there would be exceptions. Cancer patients and others suffering from chronic pain would get a break. Ferguson says his intent is to prevent overprescribing.

Washington and Oregon are making contingency plans in case Congress doesn’t reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is for low-income families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Washington's Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering its own version of retail therapy this Black Friday: Skip the mall and go fishing instead.

The state is offering tight lines rather than long lines, says Steve Thiesfeld, who manages the Washington’s inland lakes program. That is DFW’s pitch, and Thiesfeld says it works. 

Will James / KNKX

In Burien, a city council incumbent is conceding defeat. Debi Wagner served for four years. She trails challenger Jimmy Matta by nearly 400 votes.

Matta and one of his running mates are set to become Burien’s first Latino council members after a charged race that revolved in part around immigration and crime.

COURTESY KARLA SALP / WASH. STATE DEPT OF AGRICULTURE

Teams of technicians from the state Department of Agriculture are scouring neighborhoods this month for egg masses laid by gypsy moths.

They’re targeting places where they trapped high numbers of the invasive species this summer, such as one area near Graham, in Pierce County.

Shallow, active earthquake faults are being discovered all over Oregon and Washington state. Collectively, these may present a higher risk than the better known offshore Cascadia subduction zone.

Update: Nov. 21, 2017:

U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown sentenced defendant Darryl Thorn on Tuesday to a year and a half in federal prison followed by three years supervised release for his role in last year’s occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

Following prison time, Brown ordered Thorn be released to a halfway house for up to 90 days.

In March, a jury found Thorn guilty of conspiracy to impede federal officers as well as carrying a firearm in a federal facility. Both are felonies. Brown also found Thorn guilty of two misdemeanors: trespassing and tampering with vehicles and equipment.

RELATED: Malheur Refuge Occupier Wesley Kjar Sentenced To Community Service

Original story, Nov. 20, 2017:

Two defendants who participated in last year’s occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge are set to be sentenced in federal district court this week. 

The defendants had a variety of roles during the occupation.

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